World #1 Lindsay Davenport flexed her muscles in Bali cruising through the entire tournament without looking like losing a set, continuing her return to elite form in 2005. In what was a fairly strong field, albeit Davenport the only top 10 player, she did what was expected of her and enjoyed a faultless week in the exotic location of Bali. The $35 000 winners’ cheque, Davenports’ 49th title, ensured qualification for the lucrative Sony Ericsson season ending championships in Los Angeles.
As the top seed Davenport enjoyed a round 1 bye, enabling extra preparation for the 2nd round encounter with Japans’ #5 Rika Fujiwara who had an unexpectedly tough battle with lowly ranked South African Natalie Grandin, prevailing in a 3 set tie-breaker. It mattered little though as Davenport clinically sent the Japanese 23 year old packing, 6-3 6-2 giving the field a preview of things to come for the week. The Quarter Final matchup against a similar level player in Italy’s Maria Elena Camerin was even more convincing as Davenport gained steam on her charge through the tournament, thrashing her 6-3 6-1. Camerin tho can be well pleased with her Quarter Final appearance as she attempts to return to the Top 50 ranking she achieved midway through last season.
Young Chinese star in Semi Final of Wismilak International Bali 2005
The Semi Final was against budding young Chinese star Li Na, the 23 year old Chinese, having her second stint at succeeding at this level, would prove no match for Davenport this week faltering 2-6 2-6. A Semi Final performance is a nice showing for the young Chinese as she gains experience and starts to show some of her promise. 4th seed Francesca Schiavone of Milan, Italy would prove to be the Finals victim for Davenport who relentless flayed her 6-2 6-4, in a display worthy of the title.
The run of the Italian was noteworthy as she like Davenport won 4 games, having to play in the 1st round, as only the top 2 seeds receive the benefit of a first round bye. The match of the tournament was highlighted by Schiavone and her countrywoman Flavia Pennetta in the Quater-Finals matchup, which turned into an epic, with Schivaone prevailing 5-7 6-3 7-5. Earlier in the tournament Schiavone had to battle past recently turned 19 year old Jamea Jackson of the USA, in a real see-saw battle the Italian posted the tightest of wins 6-3 3-6 6-4 surviving what could have been a large scale upset. Schiavone had no such troubles in Round 2 smashing Spanish #4 Laura Pous Tio 6-3 6-2, Pous Tio may have been a bit leg weary after a gruelling victory over American Meaghan Shaughnessy in Round 1 that went into a 3rd set.
The path into the final was made somewhat easier for Schiavone as Patty Schnyder retired ill after splitting the first 2 sets in the Semi Final, as the humid Bali heat took its toll. Overall, Schiavone can be proud of her run to the Final, and she will surely admit that Davenport is a worthy champion.